Recently within the wedding industry there has been a huge movement of artists whom are dedicated to creating weddings that are so much more tangible and personal within the luxury market - moving away from anything remotely ostentatious and focusing instead on guest experience and quality ingredients. From organic food, to artisan decor, themes and styling inspired by nature, and photo albums full of movement and light (more often than not, shot on film rather than digital).
I met Ashlee Taylor when I was first pregnant five years ago, and this was exactly what we were discussing way back then. We craved something so much more real and in tune to our personal style. Looking back at childhood memories what struck me was that the ones I cherished were often triggered by delicious food, scent, music, candlelight and location. I desperately wanted to change direction and bring this emotion into my couples weddings.
In 2012 we decided to curate an editorial shoot to showcase and translate that shared vision. Since then there has been an absolute explosion of talent - and an amazing line up of blogs are now dedicated to championing the "fine art" cause. However my clients often arrive via my website or a referral with no clue about what this label actually means! They are somehow drawn to the images on Instagram, Pinterest and various blogs, but don't know how to create that same vision in practice.
They want elegance and natural sophistication, they appreciate handmade and artisan produce, soft and undone florals, the importance of good linen (!) - and ultimately they are willing to invest in a designer who will help create a wedding vision that embodies their personal style.
I’m of the mindset that to plan a truly beautiful wedding that treats all of the senses (because it isn't just a visual experience!), you need an eye for design and an effective process when creating new concepts in order to source exactly the right suppliers, decor and props to suit the event. My service is comprehensive in that regard – my role is not only to create weddings that look and feel amazing, but that are also extremely well organised and thought through. I’m there throughout to make the experience as relaxed and easy as possible for the client and their guests. I also pride myself on making the experience positive for each and every vendor involved, so that they give their absolute best and go above and beyond.
As a planner I breakdown budgets to fit expectations and priorities, create design booklets, source and brief every single supplier, support the daily admin, manage timings and payment reminders, oversee set up and co-ordination of the day itself and days prior – I’m there in case of any of emergencies, from power failure to a forgotten ring. Essentially, I help a couple to create a stunning event, whilst keep the planning process stress free and give my couples absolute peace of mind on the day.
As a designer and stylist, I set my mind to think the way a camera sees. I am trained to spot imperfections: creases in the linen, badly placed stationery, ugly water bottles, stickers left on shoes, smudged make up, hair that’s come undone, buttonholes put on incorrectly… the list is endless! I fix these little details that others may not notice. I’m also always thinking about how I can help to style your detail shots; is there a pretty tray or soft blanket to lay the jewellery down on?Perhaps a nice table or beautiful stone floor to arrange the full stationery suite?
Design is in the detail, and the detail is in the plan. After spending an in depth session with my client to discuss their likes/dislikes, favourite smells and places to eat, looked at their personal style and home decor etc. I then always start wth an overall moodboard of images and materials, which gives clear direction on colour and design. From there I move through each visual space of an event to breakdown the styling and decor for each location and set up. This is what I will use to liaise with suppliers and artists so that each and every one understands their brief and can be brought together seamlessly… I am ensuring that each element complements the other.
Whenever I come up with a concept - whether for a styled shoot or real wedding - it’s almost always the result of hours of research and brainstorming of ideas. It starts with a little inspiration… it could be a favourite movie or novel, it could be the venue itself, or it could just start with a basic colour scheme and desired overall atmosphere. I have found that simple designs are often the best. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and with it comes great beauty.
If you’re working with a stylist or design-led wedding planner, of course it’s fun to collaborate on ideas, but do also trust their judgment. You may have a clear vision of what you want to create, but are you sure it will work in practice and are you comfortable it can be translated through to vendors? Sometimes it is best to start with an open mind!
If you are looking for more "fine art" wedding inspiration then do take a look at some of the leading online blogs: Once Wed, Magnolia Rouge and Wedding Sparrow are all a beautiful place to start.
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